Acupuncture is a healing technique of Chinese Medicine over 2,000 years old. Through the insertion of fine, sterile needles into specific anatomical sites, acupuncture improves the body’s functions and promotes the natural self-healing process. Hundreds of clinical studies on the benefits of acupuncture show that it successfully treats conditions ranging from musculoskeletal problems (back pain, neck pain, and others) to nausea, migraine headache, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and infertility. The list goes on. There are even protocols to increase longevity. This could be one reason Asian nations consistently have the highest average life expectancy in the world.

One popular case report is of a 66-year-old woman that suffered from trigeminal neuralgia, a nerve pain syndrome with severe one sided face pain. Pain occurs from touching, talking, eating, and even brushing one’s hair.  It should be noted that pain from this condition often, unfortunately, leads to suicide from the poor quality of life. After trying drugs and nerve blocks she was treated with acupuncture. After the fourth session she was almost pain free, by the sixth week she was completely pain free and remained pain free at the end of six months.

Other Chinese medicine healing techniques include Chinese herbal medicine, moxibustion, tui na (a form of physical manipulation therapy), meditation techniques, and cupping. You likely remember gearing a lot about cupping during the Olympics when athletes, such as Michael Phelps, were seen with cupping marks all over their body. Cupping involves placing glass, bamboo or plastic jars on the skin and creating a vacuum by suctioning out the air, with an attached pump or by holding some fire in the cup for a few seconds. The underlying tissue is raised, or sucked, partway into the cup. The purpose of cupping is to enhance circulation, relieve pain, remove excess “heat”, and remove toxins that linger in your body’s tissues. If cupping is good enough for Olympic athletes to use for their health, that says a lot about it’s efficacy. It’s a simple technique that can treat many conditions, from the common cold to injuries.

Cupping

Moxibustion, or Moxa for short, is an ancient form of heat therapy that originated in China. Moxa uses the ground up leaves of the medicinal plant Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris). Moxa increases the production of white blood cells, red blood cells, hemoglobin, and improves the circulation of blood and lymph. The folklore surrounding moxa and longevity is that a farmer applied moxa to a certain acupuncture point to increase his life. It’s said he and his ancestors all lived to over 200 years old. In modern times, Doctoer Shimetaro Hara did the same and lived to over 100 years old.

Moxibustion

If you’ve never experienced acupuncture, or any other form of Chinese medicine, you should look into it!

Travis Whitney, NMD, MSc